A self-styled godwoman in Uttar Pradesh’s Deoria district on Wednesday defied lockdown guidelines to organise a religious event, and threatened the police with a sword when they asked her to call off a religious event at her ashram, reported IANS.
A 21-day nationwide lockdown began in India on Wednesday in an attempt to contain the spread of Covid-19 that has killed 13 people, and infected 649 so far. Of these, 593 are active cases, the Union health ministry said. In Uttar Pradesh, 37 people, including one foreign visitor, have had Covid-19 so far, and 11 of them have recovered.
In a video clip, widely shared on social media, the woman in Uttar Pradesh was seen wielding a sword as she says: “try and remove me”. The video showed police officials getting control of the situation eventually and taking the woman and a few of her followers into custody.
In violation of social distancing guidelines, around 100 people had gathered at the woman’s home at Mehda Purva area in Deoria, nearly 300 km from Lucknow, reported NDTV. Police were seen warning the woman saying: “We will file a case against you and your followers. This is your last chance. Stop this gathering. All of you go home or we will take strict action.”
Following the incident, 13 people have been arrested for defying the lockdown. “We came to know about the gathering at Purva Chowk where a self-styled godwoman was claiming to exorcise evil spirits,” Deoria Superintendent of Police Sripati Mishra told ANI. “The police tried to disperse the crowd and urged people to go home. When they did not go and the woman brandished a sword, police arrested them after using force.” A case has been registered against the accused, and they have been sent to prison, he added.